GEORGE TOWN (Jan 7): The final cost of the Penang Transport Master Plan (TMP) could balloon to more than the estimated RM27 billion once all the plans including the detailed studies, elevated rail system alignment and federal approvals are done.
Gamuda Bhd-led SRS Consortium project delivery partner (PDP)'s manager Szeto Wai Loong told reporters the cost would have to match the revenue that could be generated from the 3,000-acre land that would be reclaimed off Bayan Lepas.
"The estimate was made by Penang TMP study consultant Halcrow Consultants Sdn Bhd in 2011 or 2012, but there are additional things that have been proposed since then particularly on the mainland such as the bus rapid transit.
"While the state government has endorsed the new items, our next step is to estimate the total cost. However, we would know better when the tenders are called for the projects such as the light rail transit (LRT)," he said.
Presently, the two detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) studies — Bayan Lepas LRT and south coast reclamation — are ongoing, with another DEIA — the Pan Island Link highway — expected to begin this month.
State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow echoed that the cost could be higher because the initial RM27 billion was only an estimate in 2011.
"By the time the project is tendered in 2017, the cost would have ballooned. At that time, we will recheck," he said at the Penang TMP progress media briefing.
He reiterated the project would be funded through the land reclamation as the state had no other land to offer as payment to project developers.
"Of course, if we had some land on the island to offer the contractors of the project, it would be good because the land value on the island is higher than on the mainland.
"But as it stands, the state does not [have] enough land to offer as payment. Hence, the need to reclaim," he said.
Chow said the Bayan Lepas LRT and land reclamation DEIAs are expected to be completed and submitted to the Department of Environment by the end of June this year.
He added that the cost of the study is being borne by the PDP, which is part of the agreement between the state and the PDP with the business risk being borne by the latter.
SRS Consortium — a joint venture in which Gamuda holds 60%, with Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd and Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd holding 20% each — received its appointment letter on Aug 14, 2015.
At 3.14pm, shares in Gamuda remained flat at RM4.60 with 778,800 shares done.
Its market capitalisation stood at RM11.07 billion.
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